Can Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) Replace Rapid CNC Machining
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Can Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) Replace Rapid CNC Machining

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DMLS is a step up from the regular 3D printing technique in manufacturing. It offers metal printing technology that allows you to build rapid prototypes and components using the laser sintering technique. With DMLS, you can build prototypes from the ground up using additive manufacturing, compared to Rapid CNC, which uses subtractive manufacturing. For most manufacturing jobs, you can use either DMLS or Rapid CNC and still get the same results in your production. Can DMLS replace Rapid precision CNC machining?




Knowing More about DMLS


DMLS offers an excellent alternative to regular CNC machining solutions. You can use the DMLS printing technology to create prototypes and final parts in various sizes and geometrical shapes.



Pros


• DMLS Can Build Metal-Based Prototypes with Additive Manufacturing

It uses metal-based powders to create prototypes layer by layer based on your design blueprint. The laser gun equipment will ensure the successful layering of your prototypes with precise accuracy. With additive manufacturing, no materials will get wasted during the production process.


• The Creation of Complex Geometrical Shapes

You can build prototypes with complex geometrical shape designs and various intricate features. Not only that, you can also create many iterations of your prototypes with different functionalities. You can test each functionality to decide which one to include in your final product.


• Unmatchable Precision and Accuracy for Each Prototype

DMLS uses super-focused laser sintering technology that ensures the highest precision and accuracy for each prototype build. It will provide you with unmatchable precision for each component, part, and prototype based on the 3D model you have supplied. So, you will get all the correct measurements for the prototype builds with no problem.


• Quick, Computer-Controlled Programming

DMLS uses computer-controlled programming that you can configure during the production process. It allows you to automate the whole prototype-building process. You can integrate your 3D design files with the DMLS equipment to produce the most accurate rendition of your metal-based prototype.


• The Production of Intricate Components for Aerospace and Other High-Profile Industries

The production of complex-shaped components for the aerospace industry will require exact precision. It is something that the DMLS technology can offer. Building metal prototypes and other parts for high-profile industrial applications will become much easier with Direct Metal Laser Sintering.



DLMS_Manufacturing



Cons


• A Hefty Initial Investment

The DMLS equipment, with its associated metal printing technology, is a pricy machine to own. It's also the case with the metal materials. So, you need to shell out a lot of money before you can use DMLS to build prototypes for your project.


• Post-Processing Requirements

The resulting prototypes from the DMLS process will not always be without flaws. Sometimes, you must apply post-processing for the components or parts produced via the DMLS equipment. The post-processing requirements might make the prototype production a bit slower.


• Slower Than Rapid CNC in Some Instances

Compared to rapid CNC, DMLS can be slower in some production operations. You need to perform metal printing layer by layer with accuracy and precision. Larger prototypes mean a slower metal printing process for the DMLS equipment.



Knowing More about Rapid CNC Machining


Rapid CNC uses subtractive manufacturing to sculpt the material workpiece by following the CNC programming based on your design blueprint.



Pros


• Fast, Efficient, and Reliable

Computing and automation are the keys that keep rapid CNC machining fast, efficient, and reliable for any manufacturing project. The CNC-programmed commands can give you all the detailed manufacturing steps you need to create intricate prototypes and low volume manufacturing. It can also fit into any production timeline to meet your project deadline with no problem.


• A Wide Array of Material Options

Compared to DMLS, rapid CNC offers better material choices. Rapid CNC enables you to process metals, plastics, wood, and other materials based on your project requirements. More material choices mean more flexibility for your prototype production.


• High Precision and Fully Automated

Rapid CNC is a fully automated process that offers high-precision prototype manufacturing solutions. It uses the subtractive manufacturing technique to subtract from the material workpiece until it reaches the shape that meets your design blueprint. It is a high-precision sculpting process in manufacturing.


• Cheaper Operational Costs

Compared to DMLS, Rapid CNC also offers cheaper operational costs overall. It is a more popular and common team manufacturing solution for rapid prototyping. So, the supply of materials is abundant and more affordable.



CNC_Machining



Cons


• Material Waste from Manufacturing Operations

Rapid CNC uses subtractive manufacturing, meaning there will be a lot of material waste for each production. So, it might not be environmentally friendly in some cases. Manufacturers must invent ways to recycle the waste materials from Rapid CNC.


• Inflexible Geometrical Designs

Rapid CNC also has certain limitations in geometrical designs due to its subtractive manufacturing process. The geometrical shape design is not as flexible as DMLS. These geometrical limitations can make adding new prototype features more complicated.


• Size Restrictions

You can only make prototypes with Rapid CNC with a size that is not bigger than the material workpiece. Rapid CNC is not suitable for big-sized prototypes. Often, you can only create smaller parts or components with this prototyping method.



Substituting Rapid CNC Machining with Direct Metal Laser Sintering


Technically speaking, DMLS can substitute Rapid CNC Machining in most production scenarios. The additive manufacturing process of DMLS gives huge advantages of production flexibility for manufacturers in many industries. The ease of operation of DMLS can also offer fast and efficient production results for your prototype builds.



However, based on costs and other aspects, DMLS might not be an excellent replacement for Rapid CNC Machining. Rapid CNC Machining can provide fast prototypes at cheaper production costs than DMLS. You can also get similar production results for both methods. So, it might not be practical for you to replace Rapid CNC Machining entirely with DMLS.


Conclusion


DMLS and Rapid CNC have their own merits and weaknesses. Choosing one over the other will depend on your production needs and requirements. In most production scenarios, it's not a good idea to replace Rapid CNC with DMLS because of the different advantages they offer. Contact us today!


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